Julian Barnes' new novel challenges the stories we tell about our own lives and the interpretations we put on events in order to construct a version we can live with.
Tony Webster met Adrian Finn in the 6th form of a boys school in London, it was the early sixties and the future glowed bright for the small group of friends, especially for Adrian who was the bright young academic star of the year.
It was Adrian who quoted the crucial definition of history, and skewered it with an example of the death of a fellow student who had got his girlfriend pregnant:
' "History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation."'
'Is it, indeed? Where did you find that?'
'So one might have guessed.
Would you care to give us an example?'
'Robson's suicide, sir.'
Memories of their classroom debates and student friendship are triggered by an unexpected legacy forty years after Adrian's death.
It is only then that the now retired Tony begins to look back and re-examine events in the light of new evidence.
Read by Julian Barnes
Producer: Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.
Our narrator looks back on where it all began: the arrival of Adrian Finn at his school.